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On the USES of FOREIGN TRAVEL
LORD SHAFTESBURY-MR. LOCKE.
ERE I concluded my defence: when Mr. LOCKE, perceiving, by the attention we all paid to him, that we were now prepared to receive his anfwer, raised himself in his chair, and, with a firmer tone and look than I expected, addreffed himfelf to me in the following manner.
WERE the fubject before us a matter of indifference or curiofity, fuch as idle
men are used to difcourfe of, I could allow your lordship to pursue it in this way of Socratic raillery and declamation. But, if ever there was a queftion, that deferved the examination of a philofopher, properly fo called, it is, furely, this of EDUCATION; and, among the various parts of it, none is more strictly to be inquired into, as none is, perhaps, fo big with important confequences, as that which comes recommended to us under the fpecious name of FOREIGN TRAVEL.
- I COULD not, therefore, but wonder to hear your Lordship enlarge fo much, and fo long, on I know not what varnish of manners and good breeding; of the knowledge of men and the world; of arts, languages, and other trappings and fhewy appendages of education: just as if an architect should entertain you with a difcourfe on Feftoons and Foliage, or the finishing of his Frize and Capitals, when you expected him to inftruct you
in what way to erect a folid edifice on firm walls and durable foundations.
WHAT a reasonable man wants to know, is, the proper method of building up men: whereas your Lordship feems folicitous for little more than tricking out a set of fine gentlemen. It seemed, indeed, as if your lordship had calculated your defence of travelling for a knot of Virtuofi, or a ftill more fashionable circle (where, doubtless, it would pass with much eafe and without contradiction); and had, fomehow, forgotten that your hearers are all plain men; one of them, an old one; and he too, as your Lordship loves to qualify him, a philofopher.
To speak my mind frankly, my Lord, your defence of foreign travel, as lively and plaufible as it feemed, has no folid bafis to rest upon. You tell us of many defects in the breeding of our English VOL. III. F youth,
youth, and you would willingly redress them but in what way this is best done, can never be known from vague and general declamation.
To make this inquiry to purpose, fome certain principles must be laid down; fome scheme of life and manners must be formed; fome idea or model of the character, you would imprint on young minds, must be described; to which we may conftantly refer, as we go along; and by which, as a rule, we may estimate the fitness and propriety of that fort of breeding, you would recommend to us.
SINCE your Lordship then will needs have me dictate to you on the subject of Education, I must have leave to do it in another way, and after a more folemn manner, than you perhaps expect from me in this freedom of conversation.
I BEGIN with this certain principle That the business of education is to form the UNDERSTANDING, and regulate, the HEART. If man be a compound of Reafon and Paffion, the only proper difcipline of his nature is that which accomplishes these two purposes.
So far we are, doubtlefs, agreed. But the subject requires a more particular application of this principle.
You have laboured with much plaufibility to perfuade us, That the only reafonable education is that which prepares and fits a man for the commerce of the world: and I readily admit the notion, provided we firft agree about the meaning of this big word, the WORLD. Your Lordship, it may be, in your fublime view of things, is projecting to make of your Pupil, what is called, in the wideft fenfe of the terms, a Citizen of the world. A F 2